Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Growing up with Favorite Books

When I was growing up I was lucky to have a mother and a grandmother who bought me books that I fell in love with and remain favorites to this day. Of course there was no internet to go to when buying the books. Instead there was a little bookstore in our downtown. Sometimes I'd get to go there with my mother. I'd be excited when walking through the door and seeing all the books on display. The smell of the books, of the type on the pages, was magical.

My grandmother bought me books written by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I not only read those books. I devoured them. From the little house in the woods where Laura lived with her family to the house 
on the prairie to the house on the banks of Plum Creek, I was with Laura and her family wherever they went. I shivered in fear when wolves would howl or grasshoppers brought about a plague or fierce blizzards buried them in snow. I imagined playing with dolls made of cornstalks in the attic with Laura and Mary. I loved summer planting and the smells of fall harvest. I loved playing outside. I loved the trundle bed where Mary and Laura slept covered in quilts as the wind and the wolves howled. I loved the Christmases as described. I loved the idea of that family working together through hardships and gathering around the table for home-cooked meals and conversation.

While the Laura Ingalls Wilder books were my very favorites, I also loved my books written by Louisa May Alcott-especially Little Women and Little Men given to me by my mother who was herself, an avid reader. I always felt as if I was the character, Jo, who aspired to be a writer and growing up, was quite a tomboy. Jo was outspoken when she needed to be and feisty when she felt like it. I'd find myself rooting for Jo. She never disappointed me.

Other beloved book series of mine included the Nancy Drew mysteries and the Bobbsey Twins. All were good stories. All were hard to put down especially when reading them in an old chicken coop cleaned out and filled with the remains of an abandoned one-room schoolhouse including chalkboards, books and desks and turned into a clubhouse for me and my cousins. I've written about that clubhouse before. It was the perfect place to be reading as it was a place of play and imagination and what better way to stir one's imagination than by reading-especially reading books by favorite authors, most bought at a small, downtown bookstore where all those books on shelves smelled just heavenly when walking through the door.


  1. Growing up in a rural area with very little money to spend on books, the county library was my first encounter with books. I longed to own Nancy Drew books, and some of my classmates loaned their copies to me. The "Little House" books were published long after I was a child and when my own children began buying them through Scholastic publishing at school, I fell in love with them and now own two sets which I have read over and over. So thank you for these memories. I worry that children are missing wonderful adventures in reading with the growth of the internet, etc.

  2. The "Little House" books are certainly treasured reading. I loved every one I read. I too worry about the internet which is all the more reason to buy books for the younger generation in our lives.